When most consumers buy pork chops or bacon, it seldom occurs to them to wonder how much space does a pig need? That question is increasingly coming up to supermarkets, restaurants, curious consumers and their legislators. The pig space question focuses on the stage between a female hog (sow or gilt) being bred and giving birth to a littler of pigs 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days later. In that time many are confined in individual stalls about 7 feet long and a couple feet wide. California is one of the states that have banned this part of the pork production system after voters supported Proposition 12. The California law goes further, even banning the sales of pork products when ‘gestation crates’ were used, whether produced in California or other states. The US Supreme Court gets the last word on this issue. Dr. Pet Lammers is Associate Professor of Animal Scienc in the UW-Platteville School of Agriculture. Pete was raised near Johnsburg, MN on a farrow-to-finish pig farm. He earned a B.S. from UW-River Falls and a M.S. and Ph.D. from Iowa State University with majors in Animal Science and Sustainable Agriculture. He has researched pork production systems and teaches an upper level course in livestock production for niche markets.
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